To care for a dying person is an honor and privilege afforded few in our society. As clinicians, our main goal is to reduce suffering while maintaining consciousness, yet refractory symptoms may engender increased suffering and a reduced quality of life.

In such cases, palliative sedation offers a compassionate and humane alternative to continued suffering, both for patients and attendant family members.

All the same, further studies on the use of palliative sedation are warranted; until such time, however, palliative sedation should be considered a valuable and efficacious intervention for refractory suffering at the end of life (Rousseau 2000).

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